20 Health Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Before You Turn 40
Turn your health around
Want look and feel young into your 40s and beyond? Now's the time to hit the refresh button.
"When you're in your 20s and 30s, you have forever"—or so you think, explains Heather Provino, CEO of the workplace wellness company Provant Health Solutions Inc., in East Greenwich, R.I.
But health and lifestyle errors can sneak up on you in midlife and, next thing you know, a routine checkup finds your blood pressure's up or your blood sugar's out of whack.
"If you're not using 40 as that check-in point and that turnout time, those issues will start compounding," leading to chronic conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, says Provino, an exercise physiologist and sports psychologist.
Here are some common mishaps and tips to get you back on track.
Being addicted to your mobile phone
"We're creating a generation of sedentary behavior that wasn't natural, say, even 20 years ago," Provino cautions.
Tip: Take a 10-minute standing break every hour that you're using your screens.
Not making sleep a priority
Tip: Create a relaxing bedtime ritualno cell phones in bed, pleasewith these 7 tips for your best sleep ever.
Failing to floss
Tip: If stringing floss around your pearly whites is a nuisance, try one of the many "interdental" picks, sticks, brushes, or water flossers on the market.
RELATED: 20 Mistakes You're Making With Your Teeth
Tip: Katharine Taber, MD, a board-certified gynecologist and director of the Women's Wellness Center at LifeBridge Health, based in Baltimore, urges patients to kick off the day with a healthy breakfast. "A, it helps with weight loss; B it gives you more energy and concentration throughout the day," she says.
RELATED: The Same 10 Weight Loss Mistakes All Women Make
Ignoring health warning signs
Tip: Prepare a list of questions and concerns to share with your doctor before your visit.
Sneaking a cigarette (or two)
Tip: Visit Smokefree.gov for advice and free resources on breaking the nicotine addiction.
Eating too much sodium
Tip: Read packaged food labels carefully and stay under 2,300 mg a day (1,500 if you have high blood pressure).
RELATED: 16 Salt-Free Flavor Boosters
Being dehydrated all the time
Tip: If you pee is dark yellow, it may be a sign that you need to boost your H2O intake. (It should be clear or light yellow).
Watch the video: Health Benefits of Drinking Water
Avoiding dairy products
Tip: If you're not consuming 1,000 mg of calcium a day through various food sources, consider taking a calcium supplement, Dr. Larkin advises.
Lying to your doctor
Tip: Come clean: "Physicians can only address what they know about," says Dr. Larkin.
Skipping the weight room
Tip: Incorporate free weights, weight machines, elastic bands, or resistance training using your own body weight (think push-ups and squats) into your fitness routine.
RELATED: Get Stronger and Leaner With Dumbbells
Not having sex
Tip: Talk to your doctor if sexual intercourse is uncomfortablethere are treatments available, adds Dr. Larkin. You should also read up on these 10 ways to deal with painful sex.
Tip: Crave a sun-kissed glow? Fake it by applying a cosmetic bronzer. Here's how to do it in four steps .
Sipping sweet drinks
Tip: Follow this guide to squash your soda habit for good.
Eating too much processed food
Tip: Pack your fridge and pantry with the 20 foods you should always have in your kitchen.
Bingeing on alcohol
Tip: One serving means a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer, or a shot of distilled spirits. Here's how to pour a perfect serving of wine .
"Friending" instead of socializing
Tip: Take a break from social media to hang out with friends and family, and check out these seven tips to succeed at a digital detox.
Failing to discuss family health history
Tip: Learn your family's medical history and share it at your next appointment. "That will impact recommendations from your physician," Dr. Larkin says.
Not making time for preventive care
Tip: Taking preventive measures as a young adult can make a huge difference in your wellbeing as you get older. Stay on top of the 19 medical tests everyone needs.
Skipping recommended vaccines
Tip: Getting vaccinated protects yourself and reduces your risk of getting sick and spreading the disease to others.